35 – Miriai is a Vine

In the name of the Great Life, transcendent light be magnified!

I, Miriai, am a vine,
a tree which stands at the mouth of the Euphrates.
The tree’s leaves are sweet
and the tree’s fruit are pearls.
The tree’s branches are radiance
And its tendrils are light.
Its prized scent spreads among the trees
and goes out into all worlds.
Birds smell it in the air.
A flock landed in the tree –
In the tree a flock landed –
Seeking to build their nests.
They shelter in it and do not keep still
They eat what falls from its branches
And from within it they drink wine.
They eat what was not destroyed,
And drink what was not wine.
The birds sit in the vine.
Winds and storms break loose
They startle the good birds.
They batter the tree.
They cause the vine’s leaves to fall,
And cause the birds to fly away from their places.
How the birds do not fly off
but cling tightly with their claws and wings,
and hold on until the winds and storms pass.
The ones that neither hold on nor flee away undergo great distress.
(The storm) moved on and fooled them.
Woe to them that do not hold on and do not fly off,
but are dashed from the tree and dislodged!
How lovely is the tree of life,
And lovely the birds within it.
Winds and storms pass over them
And calm comes to the world.
The birds sit and twitter,
And seek to build nests upon in.

An eagle circles and flies around
the birds perched upon the vine.
A white eagle comes
And it gazes and sees the birds.
It circles and stirs them up in the vine
And comes into the tree.
In a storm the birds speak from it
And say to it, “By your life, eagle,
In this tree are birds!
How shall this not be the end of them?
Winds encompass them and they go to the tree.
Storms rise up, startle them from the tree,
Until their wings are torn off.
How they cling tightly and hold on
Winds and storms do not tear them loose.
How they were tossed about and flew away.
We say to you, eagle,
We ask you concerning the birds,
As one that travels around, so that you see the affairs on the Earth.
Those birds, our brothers –
What do they do about winds and storms?
What befalls them?”
He said to them, “Do not wish to see, my brothers
what becomes of those birds.
Projectiles drove them away from me and broke their wings.
They were torn off and broken,
they ended up lying on the harbor.
Kites and a hawk circled around them
And tore at their flesh and ate from the fattened ones.
Woe to them, whose portion is (to end up in the) water,
The substance apportioned to their hands.
Fortunate are you birds,
who are able to dwell in this vine!
You who have Miriai,
the vine that stands at the mouth of the Euphrates.
See and discover, birds,
That I came into your midst –
I came to my brothers who will be on the Earth –
I came as a support, to strengthen Miriai.
I watered my good and precious plants,
vines which stand at the mouth of the Euphrates,
I draw water in a white pitcher
and water my plants.
I sustain and carry them in my arms of radiance –
I sustain and carry and water.
It is a cure to drink from my water.
They drink and are cured,
And their soul is raised up twofold.
Vines that drink water produce good fruits
And their foliage thrives and flourishes.
Vines that do not drink water produce bitter (fruit) and brambles.
Woe to them that do not go on their way,
And woe to them that do not pass a milestone!
They hated Treasure of Life, Miriai the precious Truth.
My brothers cling tightly and hold on,
They become an ornament for Miriai.
I seek in the scornful world,
Calling with the voice of life,
And rousing before they sleep.”

The eagle flew away from the tree.
It turns and teaches its friend(s)
And says to them,
“My brothers hear my voice and hold on
And endure the persecution
And become an ornament for Miriai
– For Miriai they become an ornament!
Woe to the Jews that brought persecution on Miriai!
Woe to Eleazar the great house, a pillar that supports the Temple!
Woe to Zatan the Pillar, who spreads lies concerning Miriai!”

All the Jews met,
Summoning the great and the small,
And they came to Miriai, saying,
“You were called by the priests,
but you loved a man
And you took one another by the hand
– by the hand you took one another!”
And they went and sat at the mouth of the Euphrates.
They sought to slay them,
And brought contempt on Miriai in Jerusalem.

We will make a gallows for the one who destroys Miriai
And will bring him out,
and they will not be a day on the Earth.
Strangers enter Jerusalem.
They break open their dovecotes
And capture their doves.

All the Jews gathered in Jerusalem
And they pursued Miriai.
They went and found Miriai
set upon a throne at the mouth of the Euphrates,
And a white banner was spread over her
And a scroll was spread across her lap
– They read in the books of truth –
And she stirs up all worlds.
A (ritual) staff of living water is in her hand
A (ritual) girdle is fastened and tied around her waist.
They bow and prostrate themselves before Miriai
And she teaches in a sublime voice.
Fish assemble from the sea
And water fowl from the mouth of the Euphrates
come at Miriai’s voice
and they do not love to lie down and sleep.
They inhale the scent which is before her
And forget this world.

When they saw these things,
The Jews rose from before her.
Ashamed, they clenched their fists
And beat their breasts and wept.

Miriai’s mother spoke
And tears fell upon her chest
And she said to her,
“Look at me, my daughter Miriai.
Look at me, for I am your mother.
You are my daughter, and the daughter of all the chief priests,
Head of the great house of the Temple.
This is not the Miriai I remember –
Miriai in whose bosom is the Torah!
You opened it, and read it, and knew it by heart.
The keys to the outer doors were in your hand,
while those of the inner doors you kept in a chest.
All the priests and the sons of priests trust (you)
And kiss your hand,
Asking (you) to open the door,
And to not ask him to go to his place ashamed.
A thousand rose before you,
And two thousand returned.
They sat, prostrating themselves before you like a castrated slave,
And listened to your words in Jerusalem.
Why have you forgotten your brothers,
And your heart become estranged from the priests?
See brides lamenting in Judah
And women and men in Jerusalem removing their beloved gold,
And taking up mourning and wailing concerning you.
They say, “We will destroy our property until Miriai returns.
We shall forge heavy gold and attractive gauzes –
And place them in chests.”
They stood upon the roofs,
Waiting to see you in Jerusalem.
Making vows concerning you, that you would come with me.
Let’s go, my daughter!
Get up, return to your own city of Jerusalem.
Come, light the lamps which have stood unused since the day you left.
Do not wish for this man to captivate you and carry you off
– a man who is not for you from your people.
Forsake and leave him in the world,
So that he will not say,
“I went and brought Miriai out from her place.”
Come, teach the little ones how to write.
Remove the Torah from the bookshelf.
– Since the day you put it up (there) it is becoming dusty.
Place the secret miscarrages back into your womb,
And let us hear your voice as it was then.”

Miriai heard. She laughed at her mother
and rejoiced at her thought,
And said to her, “Are not the Jews secretly disgraced
and rendered of no account?
Are not the Jews standing at the Dome?
They are prostrating themselves covered in darkness.”
She says to them,
“Go away! Go away, fools,
miscarriages which are not from the world to me.
I am the woman who forsook the sacrifices.
It was not that I loved a man.
I did not leave to turn back unto you –
To see you at the Dome of wickeness.
Go away! Go away from before me,
You who testified lies and committed perjury concerning me!!
You testified adultery and thieving concerning me
– While you yourselves are not worthy!

Blessed is the man who freed me from my fetters
and transplanted my feet from there!
I did not commit adultery with him,
And I did not commit theft in the world.
The testimony that you testified concerning me,
Has become prayer and praise upon me.”

The priests rose up
and spoke about Miriai at the mouth of the Euphrates.
The eagle stretched out its pure wings as wide as the world
He flew over the Jews, flapping his wings.
He fettered them, and sank them at the edge of the water.
With its scum he traveled around sinking them.
The stagnant water ate away inside them,
And sank their ships at the edge of the water.
After this, he destroyed the Temple,
And set fire in Jerusalem.
He rained destruction upon them,
And killed the disciples in Jerusalem.

He listened, he came to her.
He flapped his wings, and sat by her and spoke to her
And taught her, and he loved truth from her.
He stretched out and embraced her with a strong embrace
And straightened her,
And placed her on the throne, and said to her,
“Miriai, look at me!
Mention good before Life concerning me, your messenger.
I am the good man which heard your word.
I ask of you the Truth –
Lofty truth which the Jordans illuminate.”

She said to him, “Oh, Good Uthra,
Uthra of Life,
Send your radiance upon me!
Your light has shined forth
And your glory is recognized in the place of light.
Everyone who hears your voice
Is enclosed in the place of purity
– Is enclosed in Treasure of Life –
And your banner shines twofold.
Everyone who does not hear your voice
Enlightenment and sleep are blotted out for them.

The Jews will be slaves
And all the priests sons of slaves.
You and I will become great
and rise up in victory to the place of light and be praised.”

Life is victorious!

About James F. McGrath

Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature, Butler University.
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One Response to 35 – Miriai is a Vine

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